State v. See, 2022-NCCOA-599, ___ N.C. App. ___ (Sept. 6, 2022)

In this Wake County case, defendant appealed her convictions of driving while impaired and felony death by vehicle, arguing the trial court erred by (1) denying her requests for voluntary discovery of laboratory audits and records, and (2) admitting her blood test results into evidence. The Court of Appeals found no error by the trial court. 

While driving to work at 6:00 am in June of 2020, defendant struck and killed a pedestrian walking along the roadway. The section of roadway was straight and conditions were clear that morning. When Raleigh Police responded to the scene, they did not suspect that alcohol was a factor, but an officer requested a blood sample for chemical analysis. After testing at the City-County Bureau of Identification (CCBI), it was determined that defendant had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.18. In May of 2021, defendant was convicted by a jury of driving while impaired and felony death by vehicle. 

Defendant argued that she should have been granted the CCBI laboratory’s audit, non-conformity, and corrective-action records under N.C.G.S. § 15A-903, as they “may have contained information demonstrating ‘an increased possibility of user error in the operation of th[e] machine’ used to analyze her blood sample.” Slip Op. at ¶19. The Court of Appeals disagreed, pointing out that defendant cited no cases to support this proposition. The court explained that while N.C.G.S. § 15A-903 provides that defendant was entitled to complete test results and data involving test procedures, normally “the State need not provide ‘information concerning peer review of the testing procedure, whether the procedure has been submitted to the scrutiny of the scientific community, or is generally accepted in the scientific community.’” Slip Op. at ¶¶23-24, quoting State v. Fair, 164 N.C. App. 770 (2004). After reviewing the extensive amount of information produced related to CCBI’s testing and chain of custody, the court could not establish that defendant suffered any prejudice to her ability to cross-examine the prosecution’s expert, or to her due process rights or right to a fair trial. 

Moving to defendant’s second argument that her blood sample was improperly admitted into evidence because she did not knowingly or voluntarily consent to the blood draw, the court noted that this issue was not raised at trial. Because defendant failed to raise the issue at trial, it was not preserved for appellate review, and the court declined to exercise Appellate Rule 2 to review the issue. Slip Op. at ¶35.